Global Health Infectious Diseases

The Northern Pacific Global Health Research Fellows Training Consortium

This Fellowship opportunity is an 11-month clinical research training program for post-doctorate trainees, doctoral students and medical fellows. Infectious diseases research is the department’s primary focus while opportunities in many other specialties and geographical locations exist across the consortium. The Fellowship is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Fogarty International Center (FIC) in partnership with multiple NIH Institutes and Centers. The department’s primary international training sites include:

  • China – A unique exchange program between the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s Office of Public Health Studies and Wuhan and Fudan Universities – two of the most prestigious Schools of Public Health in China – is helping to foster groundbreaking research on a variety of topics covering public health and environmental sciences.
  • Thailand – The South East Asia Research Collaboration (SEARCH) is a partnership that began in 2005 with a goal of accomplishing mutual objectives in HIV/AIDS research and training in the South East Asia region among three partners: the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre in Bangkok, the Hawaii Center for AIDS of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine, and the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences in Bangkok.
  • Cameroon – Projects include Malaria Immunity in Pregnant Cameroonian Women and Training Cameroonian Scientists in Research on Malaria.

This program is funded by a grant (1R25TW009345-01) from the Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health to the University of Hawaii Co-Investigator Dr. Vivek R. Nerurkar.  Applications for 2015-16 available: 8/1/2014.  Applications due: 12/1/2014.

Malaria Research and Training in Africa

Malarial Immunity in Pregnant Cameroonian Women 
An integrated malaria research and training program is underway as part of the department’s efforts to improve the health of women and children living in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly Cameroon. The research focuses on malarial immunity in pregnant Cameroonian women. This integrated clinical and basic science research program examines strategies for prevention of malaria during pregnancy, namely intermittent preventive treatment using sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine. This program is funded by a grant (1R01AI071160) from the Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health to Dr. Diane W. Taylor.

Training Cameroonian Scientists in Research on Malaria
The purpose of this training program is to assist young Cameroonian scientists acquire the skills necessary for conducting research on malaria. Cameroonian scientists train in Cameroon or Hawaii focusing on malaria in pregnant women and infants, the use of anti-malarial drugs, immunology of the placenta, co-infections between malaria and other diseases, use of ultrasound for monitoring fetal development and vector biology. This program is funded by a grant (1D43TW009074-01) from the Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health to Dr. Diane W. Taylor.

Short Term Education Program for Underrepresented Persons STEP-UP Pacific

This program aims to expose high school students from Hawaii and the Pacific Islands to infectious diseases laboratory research. It hopes to ignite and foster their interests in research and increase the overall number of underrepresented minority students from the Pacific regions who will commit to a career in biomedical, behavioral, clinical or social science research. This program is funded by a grant (1R25DK078386) form the National Institute of National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, NIH to Dr. George Hui.

Global Hantavirus Research

For more than four decades, the only known non-rodent-associated hantavirus was Thottapalayam virus, isolated from an Asian house shrew (Suncus murinus), captured in 1964 near Vellore in India. Recently, our laboratory has pioneered the discovery of phylogenetically divergent hantaviruses in multiple species of shrews and moles (order Soricomorpha, family Soricidae and Talpidae) from widely separated geographic regions spanning four continents. The demonstration that these newfound hantaviruses (family Bunyaviridae, genus Hantavirus) are genetically more divergent than those hosted by rodents (order Rodentia, family Muridae and Cricetidae) raises the distinct possibility that rodents might not be the principal or primordial reservoirs.

Moreover, our data suggest that the host diversity of hantaviruses may be far more expansive than previously assumed. Specifically, other mammals having shared ancestry or ecosystems with soricomorphs may serve as reservoirs and might be important in the evolutionary history and diversification of hantaviruses. In particular, insectivorous bats (order Chiroptera) may be potential reservoirs by virtue of their rich diversity and vast geographical range, as well as their demonstrated ability to host myriad medically important viruses. Surprisingly little attention, however, has been paid to this possibility. Our ground-breaking research focuses on the discovery and characterization of hantaviruses in shrews, moles and insectivorous bats to ascertain their phylogeography and molecular evolution, as well as to determine their role as disease-causing agents and potential impact on human health. This program is funded by a grant (1R01AI075057-01) form the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health to Dr. Richard Yanagihara.